MHS boys 0-3 in Cougar Classic

Nicholas Stuchlik draws a foul during the first quarter against Elyria Christian Friday. He made one of two free throws to bring Marion within 7-4. Stuchlik pulled down 14 rebounds and scored nine points in Marion?s 52-42 loss. Janae Rempel / Free Press

The Marion boys lost Saturday?s seventh-place Cougar Classic matchup to Rural Vista, 56-47.

Both teams got off to a slow start. Unofficially, Marion, who played without starter Jacob Baldwin for the second night in a row, made 4-of-14 field goal attempts in the first quarter (28.6 percent), yet battled back from an early deficit.

With Rural Vista in front, 7-2, Mason Pedersen drained a three to ignite an 8-2 run. Jack Schneider closed the quarter with a three-point and two-point basket, boosting Marion in front, 10-9.

?We regrouped and had a good first quarter,? coach Jeff McMillin said. ?We missed a lot of shots, but a lot of those were all in the same possession also, so it?s the equivalent of missing one, but we just need to get some of them. We?re getting a lot of good second looks at the basket, but we?re just having a hard time putting anything in there.?

Bret Voth gave Marion its largest lead, 12-9, but after that, the Heat went on a 19-6 run. Following a timeout, Marion ended the quarter with a 10-3 burst, including back-to-back threes by Voth and Schneider, and the Warriors trailed, 31-28, at halftime.

?The biggest thing that was hurting us against Rural Vista was transition defense,? McMillin said. ?That?s the only way they were really scoring any points at all. When we made them play against our set defense, we were actually defending pretty well, and I think we got pretty good movement, and without one of our starters there, we actually scored fairly well.?

The first six minutes of the third quarter belonged to Dylan Pippin and Cade Stilwell, as the pair scored the game?s next 13 points, putting Marion behind by two, 37-35, at 2:24. The third quarter ended with the Heat in front, 42-37.

Rural Vista built its lead to 49-39, then Nicholas Stuchlik trimmed the margin to six with two baskets. That was the closest Marion got, however, and the Warriors fell by nine.

Pippin led Marion with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Schneider added 10 points.

?I think that we did come out to play better, and we did try to realize that we were missing our vocal leader and try to pick up the slack in that area,? McMillin said. ?I do think that we were a lot more focused and we played a lot harder.?

McMillin said the team continues to strive for constant improvement.

?We?re devoting more time to team defense and devoting more time to shooting,? he said. ?We?ll shoot the ball a lot now in practice. Hopefully some confidence comes with getting some more repetitions.?

Elyria Christian 52, MHS 42

Consolation Semifinals, Friday

Marion got off to a slow start in its 10-point loss to the previously winless Eagles.

?For the first time, I think, this year, we got off the bus without our focus ready to play,? coach Jeff McMillin said. ?We were just totally disorganized for some reason in everything that we tried to do. We got back to where we were at least focused on what our objective was, and then we played a lot harder.

?Unfortunately we gave them too much confidence in the first quarter and let them stick around when we probably shouldn?t have allowed that to happen.?

The Warriors played without Jacob Baldwin for the game.

?Jacob?s a really, really, really important player for our team,? McMillin said. ?It would?ve made their job a whole lot more difficult inside, the defense that he brings and the rebounding. He makes a world of difference rebounding, and just being the vocal leader of the team.?

With the Warriors trailing 5-3, Elyria ended the first quarter with a 7-1 run to enjoy a 12-4 margin at the first break.

Marion came alive offensively in the second quarter, outscoring the Eagles, 20-10. Mason Pedersen ignited a 15-4 Warrior run with a breakaway layup, and by the time Bret Voth made his second three-pointer of the period, Marion led, 19-16. The teams traded scores the duration of the half, and Marion led, 24-22, at intermission.

Following a 26-26 tie, Elyria used a 10-1 run to take the lead for good. The third quarter ended with Marion trailing, 39-31.

Elyria built its lead to 46-31 before Nicholas Stuchlik scored Marion?s first point of the quarter at the charity stripe with 4:06 left in the game. Voth scored Marion?s first field goal with 2:21 to go, and the closest Marion got after that was within nine.

Voth led with 17 points. Pedersen added 11. Stuchlik pulled down 14 rebounds.

Solomon 45, MHS 38

Quarterfinals, Tuesday

The sixth-seeded Warriors lost a hard-fought battle to the No. 3 Gorillas.

?We knew they were a big, physical team,? coach Jeff McMillin said. ?They?ve played some good teams, and they?ve won a lot of games. They came out a little sluggish, and I knew that we didn?t, and we never do, and we were able to keep them on their heels for a long time.?

Neither team shot the ball well in the first quarter. Unofficially, Marion made two of 12 attempts from the field (16.7 percent), while Solomon made just one of 10 (10 percent).

Solomon put the first two points on the board from the charity stripe with 3:38 left in the first quarter, then Peyton Heidebrecht tied the game with a pair of free throws. Jacob Baldwin and Mason Pedersen scored baskets to give Marion the lead, and Solomon made its first basket of the quarter with just 14 seconds to go, bringing the score to 6-4 in favor of Marion at the end of one.

Following an 8-8 tie, Bret Voth and Baldwin combined for seven points, and the teams traded scores the rest of the half, giving Marion a 19-12 lead at halftime.

Marion?s largest lead was 24-16 after Heidebrecht made a three, but Solomon came roaring back with a 9-2 burst to trim Marion?s lead to one. The Warriors maintained the lead, and held a 29-26 advantage heading into the final period.

The Gorillas closed the gap to one, then took the lead with two technical foul shots from the charity stripe with 6:18 to play. With Marion managing only a free throw and one basket in the first five minutes of the period, Solomon built its lead to 39-32 with 2:41 to play. The Warriors closed to 41-38 with 1:16 left, but Solomon scored the game?s final four points.

?When they started ratcheting up the pressure a little bit, the easy shots we were getting, we weren?t getting anymore,? McMillin said. ?Then of course they were big and physical, and they started pounding us on the rebounds, too, and that was a big part of it also.

?But I always tell the boys, ?If you guys play to win and you fight like you want it and you compete, then I?m happy with it.??

Nicholas Stuchlik led the effort with eight points. Baldwin pulled down 11 rebounds to go with his seven points.

Coming?Marion (2-10) was scheduled to host Hillsboro Tuesday and will travel to Council Grove Friday.

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